Business News of 2014-02-12

No ban on textile import -Trade Minister

The government has not taken any decision to ban the import of textiles into the country, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, has stated.

“Let me emphasise that there is no government policy which is seeking to ban the imports of textiles into the country; what we are seeking to do as a government is to regulate the entry of all textiles into Ghana through defined and designated routes in order to have improved statistics and control illegal importation,” he said.

The minister was speaking at a national stakeholders forum organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on a national crusade against trade in pirated Ghanaian textiles. It is aimed at finding solutions to the eminent crises facing the country’s textile industry.

According to him, the policy of government to discourage imports of all categories of goods and to expand exports generally into the country remained a priority although imports must be done legally “to improve our foreign exchange standing in order to improve the growth of the national economy.”

The issue of trading in pirated textiles by the market women, particularly local designs and trademark, is not only an infringement on intellectual property but is also facilitating the illegal importation of pirated textiles into Ghana.

The issue about textile importation has generated a lot of controversy in recent years because of the impact it is having on the local textile industry.

Today, the production capacity of the local textile producers has drastically gone down beyond what can even sustain their businesses, a situation which compelled them to cry for government intervention.

New dimension

Meanwhile, a worrying phenomenon has arisen in relation to how designs of the local companies find their way outside the country.

It was against this background that the sector minister called for the protection of trademarks and designs of local textile manufacturers.

Mr Iddrisu also gave a hint that some workers of the local textile companies allegedly engaged in unlawfully trading some of the designs to their agents in China and India, something the minister said was as not acceptable. He, therefore, urged them to desist from that unpatriotic practice.

The debate about the influx of pirated textiles necessitated the formation of an anti-piracy tax force to check the menace, which made some inroads until its suspension late last year on the order of the President.

Advice to market women

The minister also advised the market women to desist from contributing to the collapse of the local textile industry.

“Do not engage in the importation of pirated textiles. It is still profitable to engage in legitimate business of imports of textiles. Do our country proud, show some patriotism and demonstrate respect that you will honour the president,” he said.

Sensitisation exercise

Meanwhile, a member of the task force and the vetting committee on the importation of African Textile Designs, Mr Appiah Donyina, said the taskforce would embark on various sensitisation exercises to educate people on the difference between genuine and pirated textiles.

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